Before i risk misleading you, this is a fictional poem from a short collection of poems i wrote called The Wallace Variations, which take Wallace Stevens’ life & work as a theme to be used fictionally, philosophically, stylistically & other such avenues. Another poem called Return to Vesuvius is also from this unpublished, short collection.
Kreymbourg was Stevens’ editor & did receive Peter Quince at the Klavier.
From Unreleased Footage of a BBC documentary on Wallace Stevens
Sometime in 1915, the manuscript of Peter Quince
alighted on the desk of Alfred Kreymbourg
to be touched up & tamed, whilst Wally in a quandary thought
: Susanna’s beauty if a booby trap, I’m saying if,
means that the red eyed elders have been trumped,
they’re the victims of a beauty God has tempt them with
—are they then still the lustful creatures making havoc of purity…?
This kept poor Wally wide awake in the traffic nights
of New York City away from his quilt & wife, in that order of importance.
He was content to be away from her, to gauge his Sybil;
to masturbate in a warm bath over unrequited love;
to study art & know it is but poems in different shapes
his mind unburdened of insurance & envelopes.
The simper of the Byzantines could cause the earth to quake?
But Kreymbourg had been bowled over by the work
the lusty passages, the music, colour, tip-toeing Byzantines
—the cymbals & the boom boom of tambourines, all did a number
on the sensibilities of him, a victim of the temporal
—he’d bathed too long in that green pool beside Susanna,
too long inhabited the elders’ blood & tested Quince’s chords
on his 4 walls so they might hum that tune when he was gone.
Kreymbourg drank something & let out a gasp
of satisfaction as the room fell silent but for a fugue in C
that bolted from the manuscript, oddly enough.